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Introducing the new HotSpotsPro stack
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Introducing the new HotSpotsPro stack

Guest-Post from Will Woodgate

I’m pleased to announce the availability of HotSpotsPro today. As you may be aware, the free HotSpots stack was developed and released about two months ago, at request of a client to achieve some image maps in an important project. There was a lot of interest in the free stack, and it became clear through the RapidWeaver forums that there’d be interest in a paid ‘pro’ version with many more features and functionality too.

Although image maps remain a popular technique in modern web design, the ability to create them in RapidWeaver has somewhat dried-up in recent years. Rage MapDesign used to be the go-to solution for creating image maps to go into RapidWeaver; but unfortunately it’s no longer developed and quite unstable in newer versions of Mac OS X. The Points Of Interest stack was another option; but this too appears to be unsupported now. My hope with HotSpotsPro is that it can become the most feature-rich solution for building basic image maps in RapidWeaver.

The idea of an image map, in the simplest form, is to display a static image. Over the top of this image, there are then ‘hotspots’ positioned in specific areas. These hotspots can be visible or invisible. It’s these hotspot regions which can perform various tasks, like displaying tooltips on hover or opening content or other pages when clicked. Built correctly, a basic image map can promote a lot more user interaction with a web page and offer a fantastic method of navigation.

HotSpotsPro

Development of HotSpotsPro has by no means been a walk in the park! I received a number of ideas and feature requests from many different people worldwide. Some of these were unachievable via the Stacks API and a couple of others conflicted with what others wanted! So as a result, in a few areas, things have needed to be re-thought and some small compromises were required. But hopefully the completed stack today meets nearly all objectives that someone building a basic responsive image map in RapidWeaver needs. A fine balance has been cut between providing plenty of useful features; while at the same time avoiding a stack that gives the illusion of being too complicated to use. The HotSpotsStack went through several revisions and a number of Beta builds; which allowed us to get feedback from actual users and perfect the stack for release today.

Some noteworthy features of the HotSpotsPro stack are as follows:

  • Support for up-to twenty hotspot regions, which should be more than adequate for most requirements
  • Completely code-free setup, coupled with live previewing of the background image and hotspots in Stacks edit mode
  • Search engine optimised, print friendly and valid HTML5 markup. No messy Javascript or Flash code
  • Option to display informational rollover tooltips left, right, above or below hotspot regions, and customise their size and colour
  • Hotspots can open a link when clicked or open content (like iFrames, images or video) in a responsive lightbox
  • Robust compatibility with all major web browsers and various different handheld devices
  • Lots of style options, including semi-transparent hotspot fills and various border styles. Support for both static and hovered states
  • Proportionate scaling of internal content (like Font Awesome icons) in supported RapidWeaver themes


HotSpotsPro is available to purchase from the Stacks4Stacks website for £10.00. It’s been carefully priced in respect of the amount of time and effort that went into developing this stack, and the fact that the free HotSpots stack remains available for people working on a very tight budget. HotSpotsPro is very much a professional-grade stack (hence the name) you can purchase once and use an unlimited number of times in many projects. It's a single stack element which can save you from hours of complicated coding and tedious testing.

A free demo version of HotSpotsPro can be downloaded from the product page. A couple of different examples showing the HotSpotsPro stack in action are also presented, for you to test. All purchases include free technical support and updates. HotSpotsPro will be compatible with future versions of RapidWeaver and the next Stacks update. If you have pre-sales questions, you can contact me direct through the Stacks4Stacks website (a reply is normally provided within 6 - 12 hours).

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